The Bodhisambhara Shastra

Standaard

The Treatise on the Provisions Essential to Enlightenment

 

By Arya Nagarjuna

Translated into Chinese by the Great Sui Dynasty’s
South Indian Tripitaka Master Dharmagupta (550?-619 ce)

English Translation by Bhikshu Dharmamitra

001
Now, in the presence of all the Buddhas,
With palms pressed together, I bow down my head in reverence.
I shall, in accordance with the teachings, explain
The provisions essential for the bodhi of the Buddhas.

002
How would one be able to describe without omission
All of the provisions for the realization of bodhi?
This could only be accomplished by the Buddhas themselves,
For they, exclusively, have realized the boundless enlightenment.

003
As for the boundless meritorious qualities of a buddha’s body,
The provisions for enlightenment constitute their very root.
Therefore the provisions for enlightenment
Themselves have no bounds.

004
I shall then explain but a lesser portion of them.
I respectfully offer reverence to the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas.
All such bodhisattvas as thesexc2x97
They, after the Buddhas, should be given one’s offerings.

005
Since it is the mother of the Bodhisattvas,
It is also the mother of the Buddhas:
The Prajxc3xb1aparamita :
Is the foremost among the provisions for enlightenment.

006
Giving, moral virtue, patience, vigor, and meditative discipline
As well as that which extends beyond these fivexc2x97
In every case, because they arise from the perfection of wisdom,
They are subsumed within this prajnaparamita;.

007
These six paramita’s
Encompass the provisions for bodhi,
They are comparable in this to empty space,
Which entirely envelopes all things.

008
There is in addition the opinion of another master
That, as for the provisions for enlightenment,
Truth, relinquishment , quiescent cessation, and wisdomxc2x97
These four bases subsume them all.

009
The great compassion penetrates even the marrow of one’s bones.
Thus one becomes for all beings one on whom they can rely.
One’s regard for them is like that of a father towards his only son.
Thus loving-kindness then extends to everyone.

010
If one brings to mind the meritorious qualities of a buddha
Or hears of a buddha’s spiritual transformations,
One may be purified through one’s affection and joyfulness.
This is what qualifies as the great sympathetic joy.

011
As regards his relations with beings, the bodhisattva
Should not, on realizing equanimity, simply forsake them.
In accordance with whatever abilities his powers enable,
He should always strive to draw them in.

012
The bodhisattva, even from that time when his efforts begin,
Should, as befits the power of his abilities,
Employ skillful means to transform beings,
Thus causing them to enter the Great Vehicle.

013
If one transformed through teachings a Ganges’ sands of beings,
Causing them all to gain the fruit of arhatship,
Still, transforming a single person so he enters the Great Vehiclexc2x97
The merit from this is superior to the former.

014
Instructing through resort to the Hearer Vehicle
Or through resort to the Pratyekabuddha Vehicle
Is undertaken where, on account of lesser abilities,
Beings are unable to accept instruction in the Great Vehicle.

015
Where, even by utilizing the Hearer and Pratyekabuddha Vehicles
In addition to drawing on the Great Vehicle,
There are those who still cannot accept transformative teachingxc2x97
One should establish them in merit-creating circumstances.

016
If there be persons who are unable to accept
Transformative teachings conducing to the heavens or liberation,
One should employ the means of bestowing present-life benefits
And, as one’s powers dictate, one should draw them in.

017
Where a bodhisattva with respect to particular beings
Has no basis through which to teach and transform them,
He should raise forth great loving-kindness and compassion
And should not then simply cast them aside and forsake them.

018
Drawing in through giving, or through explaining Dharma,
Or through listening in return to others speaking about Dharma,
Or also through endeavors beneficial to themxc2x97
These are skillful means by which one may draw them in.

019
In that which is done for the benefit of beings,
One should not become either weary or negligent.
One should bring forth vows for the sake of bodhi.
Benefiting the world is just benefiting oneself.

020
Entering the extremely profound state of the Dharma realm,
One extinguishes and abandons discriminations.
They all become devoid of any useful function.
Thus, in every circumstance, one naturally abides in equanimity.

021
Personal gain, reputation, praise, and happinessxc2x97
In every case, one refrains from attachment to these four points.
Moreover, even their opposites present no obstacle.
Conduct of this sort constitutes the practice of equanimity.

022
In the bodhisattva’s striving for bodhi,
So long as he has not yet gained irreversibility,
He acts as urgently as the person whose turban has caught fire.
Thus one should take up just such intensely diligent practice.

023
Thus it is that those bodhisattvas,
When striving for the realization of bodhi,
Should not rest in their practice of vigor,
For they have shouldered such a heavy burden.

024
So long as he has not generated great compassion or the patiences,
Even though he may have gained an irreversibility,
The bodhisattva is still subject to a form of “dying”
Which occurs through allowing negligence to arise.

025
The grounds of the Hearers or the Pratyekabuddhas
If entered, become for him the same as dying.
Because he would thereby sever the bodhisattva’s
Roots of understanding and awareness.

026
Even at the prospect of falling into the hell-realms,
The bodhisattva would not be struck with fright.
The grounds of the Hearers and the Pratyekabuddhas, however,
Do provoke a great terror in him.

027
It is not the case that falling into the hell realms
Would bring about an ultimate obstacle to his bodhi.
The grounds of the Hearers and the Pratyekabuddhas, however,
Do create just such an ultimate obstacle.

028
Just as is said of he who loves long life,
That he becomes fearful at the prospect of his own beheading,
So, too, the grounds of the Hearers and Pratyekabuddhas
Should bring about a fearfulness of just this sort.

029
Not produced and not destroyedxc2x97
Neither unproduced nor undestroyedxc2x97
Nor is it the case that one posits “both” or “neither”xc2x97
As for “emptiness” and “non-emptiness”xc2x97it is the same for them.

030
No matter which among all dharmas one encounters,
In their midst, one remains unmoving in one’s contemplation.
Those who achieve this abide in the unproduced-dharmas patience
On account of having cut off all forms of discrimination.

031
Once one has succeeded in gaining this patience,
One immediately receives the prediction:
“You will definitely become a buddha.”
It is then that one succeeds in achieving irreversibility.

032
Those bodhisattvas already dwelling at the stage of immovability
Have gained irreversible knowledge of dharmas as they really are.
Their knowledge is invincible to those of the Two Vehicles.
Hence this stage alone is designated “irreversible.”

033
Up until the bodhisattva has gained
The ground of all Buddhas’ present manifestation
Along with its durably-solid samadhis,
He should not allow any negligence to arise.

034
The ground of all buddhas’ present manifestation
With its durably-solid samadhisxc2x97
This constitutes the bodhisattva’s father
While the great compassion and the patiences serve as his mother.

035
As for the perfection of wisdom serving as his mother
And skillful means serving as his father,
It is on account of the one’s giving birth and the other’s support.
Thus those are also claimed as the bodhisattva’s father and mother.

036
With but a lesser accumulation of merit
One remains unable to realize bodhi.
Merit the measure of a hundred Mount Sumerusxc2x97
Only an accumulation exceeding that would enable its realization.

037
Although one may perform but a minor meritorious deed,
Even in this, one possesses a skillful means:
Taking all beings as the object of this act,
One in all cases brings about transformation of the conditions.

038
As for he who reflects, “Whatever actions I undertake,
They will always be for the sake of benefiting beings”xc2x97
With a mind which courses on in this wayxc2x97
Who could be able to measure his merit?

039
When he is not cherishing of even his relatives, his retinue,
Or of his own body, life, or wealthxc2x97
When he does not covet the “sovereign-independence” happiness,
The Brahma-world heavens, or any other heavensxc2x97

040
When he does not covet even nirvana,
This because his actions are undertaken for the sake of beingsxc2x97
When in this way, he bears in mind only other beingsxc2x97
Who could be able to measure his merit?

041
When for those of the world without refuge or protection,
He rescues and protects them from their bitter afflictionsxc2x97
When he raises forth such thought and actions as thesexc2x97
Who could be able to measure his merit?

042
If he were to act in accord with the perfection of wisdom
Only for the moment of tugging cow’s milk, it would then be so.
If he did so for a month or for many more monthsxc2x97
Who could be able to measure his merit?

043
When, taking up those profound sutras praised by buddhas,
One recites them to himself, teaches them to others,
Or provides analysis and explanation for their sakesxc2x97
It is this which generates the accumulation of merit.

044
When one causes countless beings
To generate the mind resolved on bodhi,
That treasury of merit becomes even more supreme.
One thus becomes bound to gain the ground of immovability.

045
When one follows along in turning what the Buddha turned,
The wheel of the most supreme Dharma,
Bringing to quiescent cessation all of the evil piercingsxc2x97
It is this which establishes the bodhisattva’s treasury of merit.

046
For the sake of bringing benefit and happiness to beings,
One would endure even the great sufferings of the hells,
How much the more so the other lesser sufferings.
In such a case, bodhi resides in one’s own right hand.

047
When in initiating actions, it is not for one’s own sake,
But rather solely to bring benefit and happiness to beingsxc2x97
Because in all cases this arises from the great compassion,
Bodhi resides in one’s own right hand.

048
When one’s wisdom abandons frivolous discoursexc2x97
When one’s vigor abandons indolencexc2x97
When one’s giving abandons miserlinessxc2x97
Bodhi resides in one’s own right hand.

049
When meditative concentration is free of dependence or ideationxc2x97
When moral precepts are perfectly fulfilled and unadulteratedxc2x97
When one has gained the unproduced-dharmas patiencexc2x97
Bodhi resides in one’s own right hand.

050
Those now abiding in the ten directionsxc2x97
All of those who have gained the right enlightenmentxc2x97
I, in the presence of them all, directly before them,
Lay forth and describe those unwholesome deeds I have done.

051
In those realms throughout the ten directions,
If there be buddhas who have gained realization of bodhi
And yet have not proclaimed and expounded the Dharmaxc2x97
I request of them that they turn the wheel of Dharma.

052
In the present era, throughout the ten-directions’ realms,
Among all those possessed of the right enlightenmentxc2x97
If there be those about to relinquish their lives and practices,
I prostrate in reverence, exhorting and requesting them to remain.

053
Wherever there are any beings who,
By their physical, verbal, or mental deeds,
Generate merit through giving, moral virtue,
And so forth, on through to the cultivation of meditationxc2x97

054
Whether it be that of aryas or common persons,
And whether it be created in the past, present, or futurexc2x97
All of their accumulated meritxc2x97
In every case, I am moved to accord with and rejoice in it.

055
If all of the merit which I have created
Could be formed into a single ball,
I would bestow it on all beings through transference
For the sake of causing them to realize the right enlightenment.

056
My acting in this manner in repentance of transgressions,
Exhortation, requesting, accordant rejoicing in others’ merit,
And the transference through dedication to bodhixc2x97
One should realize these accord with the acts of all Buddhas.

057
That confession and repentance of the evils of my karmic offenses,
The requesting of the Buddha, the accordant rejoicing in merit,
And the transference through dedication to bodhixc2x97
These accord with the instructions of the most supreme ones.

058
Kneeling down with the right knee touching the ground,
And the upper robe arranged, baring the one shoulderxc2x97
Three times each day and three times each night,
One places the palms together and proceeds in this manner.

059
The merit created in even a single instance of this,
If it were allowed to manifest in material form,
Even a Ganges’ sands number of great chiliocosms
Could not be able to contain it.

060
After the initial generation of resolve,
In relating to bodhisattvas of lesser standing,
One should bring forth for them a veneration and cherishing
Comparable to that reserved for one’s own guru and parents.

061
Although a bodhisattva may have committed transgressions,
Even so, one still should not speak about them.
How much the less might one do so where no actual case exists.
One should then engage only in praises which accord with truth.

062
In an instance where a person has vowed to become a buddha
And one wishes to influence him to achieve irreversibility,
Make matters manifestly apparent, cause him to blaze full of fire,
And also inspire in him the happiness of sympathetic joy.

063
When one has not yet understood extremely profound scriptures,
One must not claim they were not spoken by a buddha.
If one makes statements of this sort,
One undergoes the most intense suffering in retribution for evil.

064
As for karmic offenses generating “nonintermittent” retributionsxc2x97
If one were to form them all into a single ball
And compare them to the two karmic offenses described above,
They would not amount even to the smallest fraction thereof.

065
As regards the three gates to liberation,
One should skillfully cultivate them:
The first is emptiness, the next is signlessness,
And the third is wishlessness.

066
Because they have no self-existent nature, phenomena are empty.
If already empty, how could one establish any characteristic signs?
Since all characteristic signs abide in a state of quiescent cessation,
What could there be that the wise might wish for?

067
When cultivating and bearing these in mind,
One goes toward and draws close to the nirvana path.
Do not bear in mind anything not resulting in a buddha’s body
And, in that matter, one must not allow any negligence.

068
“In this matter of nirvana, I
Should not immediately bring about its realization.”
One ought to generate a resolve of this sort,
And then should bring to ripeness the perfection of wisdom.

069
Just as an archer might shoot his arrows upwards,
Causing each in succession to strike the one before,
Each holding up the other so none are allowed to fallxc2x97
Just so it is with the great bodhisattva.

070
Into the emptiness of the gates to liberation,
He skillfully releases the arrows of the mind.
Through artful skillful means, arrows are continuously held aloft,
So none are allowed to fall back down into nirvana.

071
“I refuse to forsake beings
And so continue on for the sake of benefiting beings.”
One first brings forth just such resolve as this,
And thence, forever after, one’s practice accords with that.

072
There are those who’ve attached to existence of beings and the like
Throughout time’s long night and in present actions as well.
They retain inverted views regarding characteristic signs.
This is due in every case to confusion wrought by delusion.

073
For those attached to marks who retain inverted views,
One resolves to proclaim Dharma that they might be severed.
One first generates just such a mind as this.
And thence, forever after, one’s practice accords with that.

074
The bodhisattva strives on for the benefit of beings
And yet does not perceive the existence of any being.
This in itself is the most difficult among endeavors
And is such a rarity, it transcends one’s powers of conception.

075
Although one may have entered “the right and definite position,”
And one’s practice may accord with the gates to liberation,
Because one has not yet fulfilled one’s original vows,
One refrains from proceeding to the realization of nirvana.

076
Where one has not yet reached the “definite” position,
One holds oneself back through the power of skillful means.
Because one has not yet fulfilled one’s original vows,
In this case, too, one refrains from opting for realization of nirvana.

077
Equipped with the most ultimate renunciation of cyclic existence,
One nonetheless still confronts cyclic existence directly.
While maintaining faith and happiness in nirvana,
One still turns one’s back on taking up the realization of nirvana.

078
Although one should maintain a dread of afflictions,
One still should not bring afflictions to their final end.
One should proceed to accumulate the many forms of goodness,
Employing blocking techniques to block off the afflictions.

079
For the bodhisattva, afflictions fit with his very nature.
He is not one for whom nirvana is the basis of his very nature.
It is not the case that the burning up of the afflictions
Can bring about the generation of the bodhi seed.

080
As for the predictions accorded to those other beings,
These predictions involved their own causes and conditions.
They were only a function of the Buddha’s excellent skillfulness,
And were expedient means to facilitate reaching the far shore.

081
The comparisons involve “empty space,” “lotus flowers,”
“Precipitous cliffs,” and “a deep abyss.”
Just so, their realms. Analogies cite “non-virility” and “klecamani,”
With an additional comparison made to “seeds which are burned.”

082
All of the treatises as well as artisan’s skills,
The esoteric skills of higher clarity, all of the sorts of livelihoodsxc2x97
Because they bring benefit to the world,
One brings them forth and establishes them.

083
Adapting to beings amenable to transformative teaching,
To their realms, paths, and birth circumstances,
As befits one’s reflections, one proceeds forthwith to them,
And, through power of vows, takes birth among them.

084
In the midst of all sorts of circumstances rife with evil
And in the midst of beings prone to guileful flattery and deceit,
One should put to use one’s sturdy armor
And so must not yield to loathing and must not become fearful.

085
One equips oneself with the supremely pure mind,
Does not resort to guileful flattery or deception,
Reveals all of the evils of one’s karmic offenses,
And keeps concealed his many good deeds.

086
One purifies the karma of body and mouth
And also purifies the karma of the mind,
Cultivating observance of all passages in the moral-code training.
One must not allow any omissions or diminishment in this.

087
One establishes himself in right mindfulness,
Focuses on objective conditions, and meditates in solitary silence.
Having put mindfulness to use to serve as a guard,
The mind becomes free of any obstructive thoughts.

088
When bringing forth discriminations,
One should realize which are good and which are not.
One should forsake any which are not good
And extensively cultivate those which are good.

089
If the mind trained on the objective sphere becomes scattered,
One should focus one’s mindful awareness,
Return it to that objective sphere,
And, whenever movement occurs, immediately cause it to halt.

090
One should not indulge any laxness, any grasping at what is bad,
Nor any intense cultivation of such things.
Since one is prevented thereby from maintaining concentration,
One should therefore constantly cultivate accordingly.

091
Even if one were to take up the vehicle of the Hearers
Or the vehicle of the Pratyekabuddhas,
And hence practiced solely for one’s own self benefit,
Still, one would not relinquish the enduring practice of vigor.

092
How much the less could it be that a great man,
One committed to liberate himself and liberate others,
Might somehow not generate
A measure of vigor a thousand kotis times greater?

093
It may be that one tries to carry on a separate practice half the time,
Thus practicing some other path of cultivation simultaneously.
In cultivating meditative concentration, one should not do this.
One should rather focus only on a single objective phenomenon.

094
One must not indulge any covetousness regarding the body
And must not cherish even one’s very life.
Even if one allowed a protectiveness towards this body,
In the end, it is but a dharma bound to rot and destruction.

095
Offerings, reverence from others, or famexc2x97
One must never develop a covetous attachment to them.
In the manner of one whose turban has caught fire, one should
Act with diligence, striving to accomplish what one has vowed.

096
Acting resolutely and immediately, pull forth the supreme benefit.
In this, one cannot wait for tomorrow.
Tomorrow is too distant a time,
For how can one ensure survival even for the blink of an eye?

097
Establishing oneself in right mindfulness,
When eating, it is as if consuming the flesh of one’s cherished son.
With respect to that food which one takes to eat,
One must not indulge affection for it or disapproval of it.

098
For what purpose has one left the home life?
Have I finished what is to be done or not?
Reflect now on whether or not one is accomplishing the endeavor,
Doing so as described in the Ten Dharmas Sutra.

099
One should contemplate conditioned things as impermanent
As devoid of self, and as devoid of anything belonging to a self.
As for all forms of demonic karmic actionsxc2x97
One should become aware of them and abandon them.

100
The roots, powers, limbs of enlightenment,
Bases of spiritual powers, right efforts and severances, the Path,
As well as the four stations of mindfulnessxc2x97
One generates energetic diligence for the sake of cultivating these.

101
In beneficial and happiness-creating acts of goodness, the mind
Serves as the source for their continuously-repeated generation.
It also acts as the root of all manner of evil and turbidity.
One should make it the focus of skillful analytic contemplation.

102
“In my relationship to good dharmasxc2x97
What sort of daily increase is occurring in them?
And, again, what sort of reduction?”
Those should be the contemplations of utmost concern.

103
When one observes another gain increasing measure
Of offerings, of reverences, and of fame,
Even the most subtle thoughts of stinginess and jealously
Are in all cases not to be indulged.

104
One should not cherish any aspect of the objective realms,
But rather should act as if dull-witted, blind, mute, and deaf.
Still, when timely, one should respond by roaring “the lion’s roar,”
Frightening off the non-Buddhist “deer.”

105
In welcoming them on arrival and escorting them off as they go,
One should be reverential towards those worthy of veneration.
In all endeavors associated with the Dharma,
One should follow along, participate and contribute assistance.

106
One rescues and liberates beings bound to be killed,
Naturally increasing and never decreasing such works.
One cultivates well those karmic deeds requiring clarity and skill,
Training in them oneself while also teaching them to others.

107
Regarding all of the supremely good dharmas,
One adopts them through enduring and solid practice.
One cultivates the four means of attraction,
Making gifts of clothing as well as food and drink.

108
One does not turn away from those who beg for alms,
Brings together in harmony all who are related,
Does not allow his retinue to drift into estrangement,
And provides them with dwellings as well as material wealth.

109
As for one’s father, mother, relatives, and friends,
One provides circumstances for them befitting their station
And, wherever they are provided such fitting circumstances,
One treats them as supreme and independent sovereigns.

110
Although there are yet others who act as one’s servants,
One speaks to them with goodness and also, in effect, adopts them.
One should accord them the highest esteem,
Providing them with medicines and treatment for any illnesses.

111
Being the first to act, one becomes foremost in good karmic deeds,
Speaks with smooth and marvelously sublime words,
Is skillful in discourse guided by right intention,
And has none above or below to whom he does not proffer gifts.

112
One avoids any harm to the retinue of another,
Regards beings with the eye of loving-kindness,
Does not course in disapproving thoughts,
And treats all as one would close relatives or friends.

113
One should accord with the words he speaks,
Immediately following them with concordant actions.
If one immediately acts in accordance with his words,
Other people will then be caused to develop faith.

114
One should support and protect the Dharma,
Being aware of and looking into instances of neglectfulness,
Going so far as to create even a canopy of gold and jewels
Which spreads over and covers a caitya.

115
For those who wish to find a maiden mate,
Once adorned, one may see to her presentation,
And also discourse to them on Buddha’s meritorious qualities,
Presenting them with prayer beads gleaming in varying hues.

116
One creates images of the Buddha
Which sit upright on supreme lotus blossoms.
And, in the six dharmas of monastic harmony,
One cultivates them, thus creating common delight and happiness.

117
Of those who may be given offerings, none are not given offerings.
Even for the sake of preserving one’s life, one still does not slander
The Dharma spoken by the Buddha
Or the person who expounds the Dharma.

118
Gold and jewels are distributed among teaching masters
And also among the caityas of teaching masters.
If there are those who forget what is to be recited,
One assists their remembrance, enabling them to stay free of error.

119
When one has not yet reflected on what should be done,
One must not be impulsive and must not simply emulate others.
As for the non-Buddhists, gods, dragons, and spiritsxc2x97
In every case, one must not invest one’s faith in them.

120
One’s mind should be like vajra,
Able to penetrate all dharmas.
One’s mind should also be like a mountain,
Remaining unmoved by any circumstance.

121
One finds delight and happiness in world-transcending discourse,
But must not derive pleasure from words based on the worldly.
Having adopted all manner of meritorious qualities oneself,
One should influence others to adopt them as well.

122
One cultivates the five bases of liberation,
And also cultivates the ten reflections on impurity.
The eight realizations of the great men
Should also be the focus of analytic contemplation and cultivation.

123
The heavenly ear, the heavenly eye,
The bases of spiritual powers, the cognition of others’ thoughts,
And the cognition of past lives and abodesxc2x97
One should cultivate purification of these five spiritual abilities.

124
The four bases of spiritual powers constitute the root.
They are zeal, vigor, mental focus, and contemplative reflection.
The four immeasurables control and sustain them.
They are kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.

125
The four elements are like poisonous serpents,
The six sense faculties are like an empty village
The five aggregates are like assassins.
One should contemplate them in this way.

126
One esteems the Dharma as well as the masters of Dharma
And also relinquishes any stinginess with the Dharma.
The instructing masters must not be tight-fisted or secretive
And those listening must not be mentally scattered or confused.

127
Free of arrogance and free of any particular hopes,
One resorts only to the mind motivated by compassion and pity.
With intentions imbued with veneration and reverence,
One expounds the Dharma for the sake of the assembly.

128
In learning, one never becomes weary or sated,
And having heard, in every case, one then recites and retains it.
One does not deceive any among the venerable fields of merit,
And, additionally, causes the teacher to be delighted.

129
One should not pay visits to the houses of others,
With a mind cherishing hopes for reverence or offerings.
One must not, for the sake of debating challenging topics,
Take up study and recitation of worldly texts.

130
One must not, on account of hatefulness or anger,
Defame anyone who is a bodhisattva.
With respect to dharmas not yet received or learned,
In those cases, too, one must not initiate slanders.

131
In order to cut off and get rid of arrogance and pride,
One should abide in the four lineage bases of the arya.
One must not course in disapproval of others
And must not allow oneself to become conceited.

132
Whether someone has actually committed a transgression or not,
One must not bring their cases to the attention of others.
Do not seek out the errors and faults of anyone else.
As for one’s own errors, one should become aware of them.

133
As for the Buddha and the Dharma of all Buddhas,
One should not course in discriminations and doubts about them.
Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe,
One should still maintain one’s faith in it.

134
Even though one might be put to death for speaking the truth
Or be forced to abdicate the throne of wheel-turning king,
Or even that of a king of the gods,
One should still engage only in truthful speech.

135
Even if beaten, cursed, terrorized, slain, or bound up,
One must never subject others to enmity or castigation.
Think, “This is all the product of my own karmic offenses.
It is on account of karmic retribution that this has manifested.”

136
One should, with the most ultimate respect and affection,
Provide offerings in support of one’s father and mother,
Also supplying the needs of and serving the upādhyāyas,
While extending one’s reverence to the ācāryas as well.

137
When, for the sake of those who believe in the Hearer Vehicle
Or those who resort to the Pratyekabuddha Vehicle,
One discourses on the most profound of dharmas,
This, for a bodhisattva, is an error.

138
When, for believers in the profound Great-Vehicle teachings,
One discourses to those beings
On the Hearer or Pratyekabuddha vehicles,
This, too, is an error for him.

139
So, too, where some eminent personage comes seeking the Dharma
And one delays this, thus failing to speak Dharma for him,
And then, on the contrary, one draws in and accepts what is evilxc2x97
So, too, if one appoints the unfaithful to positions of responsibility.

140
One should depart far from the errors herein described.
As for such herein-described meritorious practices as the dhūtas,
One should bear them in mind, come to know them,
And also draw close to them all in one’s practice.

141
Regard all equally in one’s thoughts, speak equally to all,
Be uniformly equal in skillfully establishing others,
And also in influencing others to accord with what is right.
Thus, in relating to beings, one remains free of discrimination.

142
One acts for the sake of Dharma and not for the sake of benefit,
Acts for the sake of what is meritorious, not for the sake of fame.
One aspires to liberate beings from suffering,
And does not wish simply to bring about one’s own happiness.

143
With purposes kept to oneself, one seeks fruition in one’s works.
When the results of one’s merit-generating endeavors come forth,
Even then, one applies them to the ripening of the many.
Thus, in this, one relinquishes and abandons one’s own concerns.

144
One should grow close to good spiritual friends (kalyānamitra).
This refers to the masters of Dharma, to the Buddhas,
To those who encourage one to leave the home life,
And to that class of persons which comes begging for alms.

145
Those who ground themselves in worldly treatises,
Those who exclusively seek worldly wealth,
Those with faith and awareness in the Pratyekabuddha Vehicle,
And those who are devoted to the Hearer Vehiclexc2x97

146
As for these four types of unwholesome spiritual friends,
The bodhisattva should be aware of them.
There are moreover those things which one should strive to gain.
This refers specifically to four great treasuries:

147
The emergence of Buddhas; hearing the perfections explained;
Being able where a Dharma master dwells,
To behold him with unobstructed mind;
And being able to abide happily in a place of solitude.

148
Earth, water, fire, wind, empty spacexc2x97
One should abide in a manner comparable to them.
In all places, one should remain uniformly equal to all
And bestow one’s benefit to all beings.

149
One should skillfully reflect upon the meanings
And should be diligent in generation of the dhāraṇīs.
In relating to those who listen to Dharma, one must not
Manifest any sort of obstruction of them.

150
In the midst of afflictions, one should be able to overcome them.
In minor matters, one is able to relinquish them without a trace.
In the eight circumstances involving indolence,
One should also in all cases cast it aside and cut it off.

151
One must not engage in covetousness for what is not one’s lot,
Unprincipled covetousness will not bring satisfaction.
The estranged should be influenced to come together
Regardless of whether or not they are one’s relations.

152
As for trying to get at emptiness itself in what is empty,
Those who are wise must not base their practice on that.
In the case of one determined to get at emptiness itself,
That wrong is even more extreme than viewing the body as a self.

153
From sweeping and maintaining floors to setting up adornmentsxc2x97
This as well as providing many sorts of drums and musicxc2x97
Offering fragrances, flower garlands, and other sorts of offeringsxc2x97
One should bestow all such sorts of offerings on the caityas.

154
One should create all sorts of lantern wheels
To make as offerings to the caityas and their buildings.
Provide then canopies as well as sandals,
Horse-drawn carriages, sedan chairs, and the like.

155
One should especially find delight and happiness in the Dharma
And be happy realizing what is gained through faith in Buddha.
One finds delight and enjoyment supplying and serving Sangha,
While also being pleased by listening to right Dharma.

156
They do not arise in the past.
They do not abide in the present.
They do not extend forward, thus arriving into the future.
One should contemplate dharmas in this way.

157
As for those things which are fine, one bestows them on beings
And does not seek that they will proffer fine rewards in return.
One should act so that only oneself is bound to endure suffering
And not favor oneself in the partaking of happiness.

158
Although one has become complete in rewards from great merit,
One’s mind is not raised up by it nor should one feel delighted.
Although one may be as poverty-stricken as a hungry ghost,
Still, one does not become dejected or overcome with distress.

159
If there be one already accomplished in study,
One should accord him the most ultimate honorific esteem.
Those who’ve not yet studied, one should cause to take up study.
One should not generate towards them any slighting or disdain.

160
To those perfect in moral prohibitions, one should be reverential.
Those who break precepts, one should cause to adopt precepts.
To those equipped with wisdom, one should draw close.
Those who act foolishly, one should influence to abide in wisdom.

161
The sufferings of cyclic existence are of many kinds,
Involving birth, aging, death, and the wretched destinies.
One should not be frightened by their fearsomeness,
But rather should overcome demons and knowledge rooted in evil.

162
In the lands of all the Buddhas,
One amasses every form of merit.
So that all will reach one of them for themselves,
One generates vows and proceeds with vigor.

163
In the midst of all dharmas, one is constant
In not seizing on them, thus coursing along in equanimity.
Proceeding in this manner, for the sake of all beings,
One accepts the burden, wishing to carry it on forth.

164
One abides in the right contemplation of all dharmas
Wherein there is no self and nothing belonging to a self.
Even so, one must not relinquish the great compassion
And must also avail oneself of the great loving-kindness.

165
As for that which is superior even to using every sort of gift
In making offerings to the Buddha, the World Honored One,
What sort of action might that be?
This refers specifically to making offerings of Dharma.

166
If one upholds the Bodhisattva Canon,
Even to the point of gaining realization of the dhāranīsxc2x97
If one enters into and reaches the bottom of Dharma’s sourcexc2x97
This is what constitutes the offering of Dharma.

167
One should rely upon the meaning.
One must not cherish only the various flavors.
In the Path of the profound Dharma
One enters skillfully and does not fall prey to negligence.

168
It is in this manner that one cultivates these provisions
Across the course of kalpas as numerous as the Ganges’ sands,
Doing so as a monastic as well as in the role of a householder,
Thus becoming bound to gain fulfillment of right enlightenment.

End of Nagarjuna’s Root Text

Translation  2005 by Bhikshu Dharmamitra

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